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Stages of Grief

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Most people consider grief to be synonymously linked with the loss of a loved one. It can be related to many kinds of loss, including the loss of freedom, as citizens from almost every country in the world experienced during mandatory Coronavirus lockdowns. How many of you have experienced one, more, or all the stages of grief during the pandemic?

If you find yourself unable to cope with any of the steps listed below, seek the help of a professional mental health practitioner immediately. They will create a safe, non-judgemental space for you, to safely give credence to your feelings, and assist with coping mechanisms to deal with your individual situation, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to grief. 

DENIAL

Often when in the first stage of grief, we experience feelings of this can’t be happening, or it’s not possible that (a loved one) is no longer with us. It’s almost as if we become more aware of our own mortality when we experience a loss. The same principle applies when being locked down, the Government can’t do this to us

If you find yourself able to identify with the sentiments above, we recommend discussing your feelings with someone you trust. Take stock of what might happen to you if you remain in denial; it could impact you, your family, and your relationships negatively.

ANGER

We often become angry when grieving. How could he leave me for another woman? Why did God take my beloved spouse? Who does my boss think she is, promoting Joe ahead of me; I’ve been here longer than he has? Anger that remains unchecked can become debilitating both physically and mentally or be signs of an already-underlying mental condition, such as anxiety and depression.

Trained mental health professionals such as those at Bristol Counselling and Psychotherapy can help you identify the root of your anger, show you how to identify your triggers, and how to channel your feelings into something positive.

BARGAINING

If we could control every aspect of our lives, there would be no need for this stage of grief. Unfortunately, life and relationships are fluid. They constantly change because of factors we cannot restrict. Bargaining often takes place when we are in the process of experiencing a loss, such as going through a divorce, or seeing a loved one in critical condition in hospital.

If you promise to be more attentive to me during the week, Spouse, you can play golf with your friends every weekend or God, if you spare our beloved family member from this awful illness, we’ll go to church every Sunday.

DEPRESSION

If you have experienced loss and reach this point, know that it is positive, even if you feel utterly wretched. With the help of a caring counsellor, you will be able to address your heart-breaking sadness in a healthy, productive way. There are many tools which a mental health professional can prescribe to help you, such as having you keep a journal, exercising, or even colouring in. Acknowledging your grief is necessary for you to recover from your devastating loss.

ACCEPTANCE

For many of us, we will always remember those people or freedoms we’ve lost. With time, though, it becomes easier to talk about them, without feeling negative emotions such as resentment or gloom. We realise that despite things being different, we still have a purpose to fulfil, and we forge on, doing what must be done in our ‘new normal’.

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